Council and Commission staff transfer to the EEAS to be completed

The European External Action Service will enter a new phase on 1 January 2011 with the transfer of staff from Council and Commission. 1643 permanent officials will be part of the new service, completing the fully implementation of this service introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which was launched on 1 December 2010.

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Tallinn becomes European Capital of Culture and celebrates Estonia's entry in the Euro area

On the 1st January 2011, Estonia will have two reasons for celebration. At the same time the country will become the seventeenth country in the Euro area, its capital city, Tallinn, will become the European Capital of Culture. To mark both these events, an opening ceremony featuring an evening concert and fireworks will take place in the city.

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Better management and protection for European forests thanks to MOTIVE project

The number of forest areas in Europe facing the onslaught of climate and land use changes, including fires, winds and droughts, is on the rise. For that reason, a concern that weighs on the minds of many Europeans is how to determine which trees adapt best to climate change, something the EU funded project MOTIVE ('Models for adaptive forest management') is trying to answer, by investigating the impact of intensified competition for forest resources given the changes to the climate and land.

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New round of consultation on review of EU working time Directive

As part of its review of the EU working time Directive, the European Commission launched on 21 December the mandatory second stage of consultation with workers' and employers' representatives at EU level. It also presented a detailed Report on the legal implementation of the Working Time Directive in Member States.

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Protecting consumers from biocides chemicals by making pest control products safer

Ministers responsible for the Environment meeting in Brussels within the Council on 20 December, reached an agreement which will make pest control products and other everyday items safer to use. The Council determined its first-reading position on revised EU rules concerning biocidal products, which covers a wide range of pest control products, such as insecticides, disinfectants and repellents, but not medicines or agricultural pesticides.

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W3C presents best practices for mobile web applications

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has brought key players from the mobile phone industry to the virtual table for an agreement on best practices for mobile web content, the group has announced. The framework, 'Mobile Web Application Best Practices', aims to foster cooperation between industry giants to build a more positive experience in the mobile environment.

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Court of Auditors underlines inefficiencies in the system of specific measures for agriculture in outermost regions

The European Court of Auditors has put forward a Special Report pointing out a series of elements in the system of specific measures for agriculture in favour of the outermost regions of the Union and the smaller Aegean islands, whose implementation could be improved. This report assesses to what extent the new approach introduced in such scheme in its 2006 revision, has been adopted in order to improve the efficiency of the system.

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EU Metrology research Programme brings significant measurable results

There many different aspects in everyday life which are related to the science branch called Metrology which refers to the science and application of measurement. Today, Europe's metrologists are working together in the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), and are helping to address the grand challenges facing the world today in diverse fields such as the environment, energy and health.

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Commission will study impacts of biofuels in land use change

The European Commission published 22 December a report on indirect land use change related to biofuels and bioliquids, acknowledging that this pretice can reduce greenhouse gas emissions savings associated with biofuels, but also identifying a number of uncertainties associated with the available models. The Commission will make an impact assessment and take into consideration potential changes to the existing legislation.

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EC launches dedicated website to fight human trafficking

On 21 December, Commissioner Malmström officially launched the new website dedicated to the fight against trafficking in human beings, a tool which aims at supporting actions in this field. Commissioner Malström was backed by Myria Vassiliadou, the new Anti Trafficking Coordinator, who will act in order to strengthen EU action against human trafficking

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Roma Task Force highlights Member States do not properly use EU funding for Roma integration

The Task Force to assess Member States' use of EU funding with regard to the social and economic integration of Roma, established in September by the European Commission has now reported its initial findings. According to them it seems that while EU funds offer considerable potential for bolstering Roma inclusion, bottlenecks at national, regional and local levels are limiting their effective use by Member States.

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Commission finds transport disruption across Europe “unacceptable” and will act to ensure preparedness

Commission Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport, expressed on 21 December Commission's concern about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow. The European Commission has described this situation as unacceptable and declared it should not happen again.

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